UK arms sales to Saudi for use in Yemen ruled unlawful

In the last few minutes the Court of Appeal has ruled that UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen are unlawful.

Activists celebrate the Court judgment ruling arms sales to Saudi unlawful
Activists celebrate outside the Royal Courts of Justice as the verdict is announced.
Credit: Darren Johnson

The Court of Appeal concluded that it was ‘irrational and therefore unlawful’ for the Secretary of State for International Trade to have granted licences without making any assessment as to whether violations of international humanitarian law had taken place.

This historic judgment means that the government must now stop issuing new arms exports licences, and retake all decisions to export arms to Saudi in accordance with the law.

We celebrate this historic verdict. But these weapons sales should never have been licensed in the first place. It should not take a group of campaigners taking the Government to court to force it to apply its own rules.

It shouldn’t take four years of schools, hospitals, weddings, and funerals being bombed. It should not take tens of thousands of deaths and the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

We must also question a system – and the priorities of government – that have allowed the continuing provision of arms in these circumstances.

CAAT Media Coordinator Andrew Smith is interviewed outside the Court of Appeal following the verdict. Credit: Darren Johnson

This isn’t the end.

The government is likely to continue to fight this decision, even now. So now is the time to ramp up the pressure and make sure they finally prioritise human lives over arms trade profits.

Email your MP today to demand an immediate end to arms sales to Saudi Arabia and UK support for war in Yemen. #StopArmingSaudi

A view from inside the UK’s biggest arms company

Photo by Alan Wilson.

Every year, CAAT activists attend the Annual General Meeting of the UK’s biggest arms company, BAE Systems. We do this so that we can challenge the Board face to face and expose the hypocrisy and greed at the heart of the arms trade. One campaigner who attended this year was Arabian activist, Ameen Nemer. Here he reflects on his reasons for going and how he found the experience.

I attended because I wanted to provide a voice for Arabian people. The absolute monarch does not represent the people in Arabia. The House of Saud tries to kidnap our voices. BAE has fallen for the propaganda and presents the regime as a liberating force. I attended so that I could tell the Board and shareholders about what is really happening to my people and land.

I am sure the BAE AGM will be happy not to have that voice which reminds them of the dirty job they are doing. No matter how nice they present themselves using polite language and advance technology, criminals are still criminals. They need to be exposed, and CAAT is doing a great job.

Shareholders got to direct questions to BAE’s Chair, Roger Carr. He was obviously well-briefed and had prepared answers for questions about the bombing in Yemen. His words may have been delivered with confidence, but they were morally bankrupt.

Continue reading “A view from inside the UK’s biggest arms company”

Wars, occupation, oppression, and corruption fuel a surging Middle East arms race

New SIPRI arms transfers data shows small overall increase in global trade, but huge increase in sales to the Middle East.

Graphic showing map of states in the Middle East with bubbles for each country indicating level of arms imports. Heading: Arms imports by states in the Middle East. Subheading: The volume of arms imports in SIPRI trend-indicator values is depicted by the size of the circle. 2014-2018. Source: SIPRI Arms Transfers Database. Copyright SIPRI 2019.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) yesterday releasedits latest data on the global arms trade, for which it is by far the best source. The data provides details of deliveries of major conventional weapons worldwide from 1950-2018, both in numerical terms and with searchable lists of the actual weapons transferred between countries. The information can be found in SIPRI’s database, and some of the key points are discussed in a fact sheet also published yesterday.

Continue reading “Wars, occupation, oppression, and corruption fuel a surging Middle East arms race”

Oil & war; 16 years since the 2003 anti-war protests

Protesters stand outside the British Museum in lines holding onto large banners/ a 'living tapestry' with messages about war, colonialism, the Iraq war and fossil fuels painted on
Cover photo by Safa Kadhim

On the 16th Feb, and to mark 16 years since the 2003 anti-war protests, BP or not BP?, and many others took over the British Museum; targetting specifically the BP-sponsored Assyria exhibition. This was part of a series of actions, that also included the action at the press launch of the exhibition in November. Iraqi members of the group also set up an alternative exhibition in Feb-March, with works of Iraqis in Iraq and in the diaspora exposing the realities of BP in Iraq. Here you can read why we protested on the 16th.

An overview of the takeover on the 16th can be found here and Culture Unstained also released a detailed report with FOIs from the British Museum on the recent I am Ashurbanipal exhibition.

Biggest protest in British Museum's history over BP and Iraq

Hey British Museum, did you really think that putting a BP logo on looted objects from Iraq was even a tiny bit acceptable? *Cue largest protest in museum's 260 year history* 🏛✊🏽

Posted by BP or not BP? on Thursday, 28 February 2019
Video of the action on the 16th February 2019
Continue reading “Oil & war; 16 years since the 2003 anti-war protests”

Saudi-British relations: silenced oppressions & complicity

Photo by Ryan Ashcroft

Last month CAAT and the CAAT Universities Network co-hosted a very important meeting at the School of Oirental and African Studies, London.

The murder of Jamal Khashoggi’s has put the UK-Saudi relationship under more scrutiny than ever before. Unfortunately there has been more scrutiny of his murder than of the death and destruction that Saudi forces have inflicted on Yemen, and of the ongoing human rights abuses for those living and working in Saudi Arabia and those affected by Saudi Arabia’s international policies. On the 19th November, we co-hosted an event on ‘Saudi-British relations: silenced oppressions & complicity’.

Continue reading “Saudi-British relations: silenced oppressions & complicity”

Four Years Since the Disappearance of 43 Students in Mexico: We Want Them Back Alive

Last month, CAAT joined Mexican activists for a protest outside the Mexican embassy in London. In this article, a spokesperson for London Mexico Solidarity explains why they were protesting.

Four years have passed since 43 students were disappeared in Guerrero, southwest Mexico, by different state agents acting in collusion with the organised crime.

The student’s whereabouts remain unknown while impunity reigns over a case that reveals the complexity and atrocity that Mexico’s ongoing human rights crisis may reach. Continue reading “Four Years Since the Disappearance of 43 Students in Mexico: We Want Them Back Alive”

“AngloArabia” – talk by David Wearing, hosted by London CAAT

 

David Wearing points to Bahrain on a projected map of the Middle East
David Wearing discusses the links between Britain, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain

Earlier this month author David Wearing spoke in London on Britain’s military and economic support for Saudi Arabia, and the UK connection with the war in Yemen.

Continue reading ““AngloArabia” – talk by David Wearing, hosted by London CAAT”

Putting the spotlight on UK arms sales to Turkey

Theresa May with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at G20 meeting

Earlier this year, Turkish forces entered Afrin, Syria. Ceren Sagir and Cinar Altun from Solidarity with the People of Turkey (SPOT) highlight the UK’s complicity in the atrocities that are taking place.

World leaders have watched idly as Turkey has fallen into even great authoritarianism and repression under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP).

There are more journalists in prison in Turkey than in any other country, with other 160 news organisations closed since the coup-attempt: including 45 newspapers. 32 radio stations, 30 TV channels and 19 magazines. That is one reason why Freedom House has taken the step of declaring Turkey ‘not free’ for the first time this year.

Human rights and the foundations of democracy are being dismantled, but many EU countries have willingly ignored the oppression taking place while distastefully bartering over refugee numbers and quietly continuing to arm the regime.

Continue reading “Putting the spotlight on UK arms sales to Turkey”